TSO has been the official publisher for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) publications portfolio since 2017. We work with HSE and trusted partners to ensure that safety-critical information is delivered efficiently and effectively, and to as wide an audience as possible.
HSE completed user and market insight research in the construction sector with consumers. HSE identified the need to educate consumers on the legal and regulatory requirements regarding home improvements, as well as on health and safety matters. HSE predicted that with increased knowledge the quality of work and number of accidents and fatalities would improve both for professionals and homeowners. The research suggested that a trusted single resource was needed covering all aspects of home improvements, allowing easy access for consumers using government digital services (GDS) principles. HSE then engaged with TSO to help deliver a solution for consumers.
We worked with HSE experts to define the overall scope of content and suggest a more detailed breakdown of content for one room (the bathroom). Our technical teams suggested the optimal delivery for this content would be a mobile app, so we mocked up an alpha app that could be shared with internal and external stakeholders. This helped HSE to identify a third-party stakeholder that could fund and support the project with consumer content. HSE chose TrustMark; the only government-endorsed quality scheme covering work that a consumer chooses to have carried out in or around their home. As a not-for-profit social enterprise, TrustMark takes pride in supporting scheme providers and registered businesses to improve consumer protection and standards across all sectors.
Working with TrustMark and HSE, we identified more detail on topics to include (with a logical hierarchy) and how to break down content within each topic. We designed a template for authors to ensure the structure was maintained throughout.
We created a project plan and outlined roles and responsibilities . We supported the creation of content by HSE and TrustMark, with regular meetings, project management, editorial services, and graphic design ideas to ensure the following GDS principles were achieved:
- make the service simple to use
- make sure everyone can use the service
- privacy by design
- user tracking (where expressed consent is given) to support the GDS principle of manage and monitor to identify improvements.
Public beta and iterative improvement
The Home Improvements app, launched in Autumn 2022, helps homeowners better understand what they need to know and do when having work done at home.
It guides you through how to engage a tradesperson, what to look for in terms of quality and protection, and the questions to ask to ensure the job is done to the right standards. It is particularly helpful for less experienced homeowners or those undertaking major projects.
The app is currently on its third iteration and concentrates on the most popular home design and improvement elements, with guidance on repairing and maintaining your home. Key home improvement topics include:
- energy efficiency
- garden buildings
- kitchens and bathrooms
- landscaping and driveways
- loft conversions
- living spaces including decorating and home offices.
There is general consumer information, and tips and guidance on managing your project from start to finish. There is also information on what to do if things go wrong, and help with finding a tradesperson to do the work.
You can download the Home Improvements app free from the Google Play store and iTunes store.
In the first two months of the soft go-live we had 500 downloads and received seven five-star reviews on iTunes. We continue to look for opportunities to improve the content and the features in the app.